The Power of Immunotherapy: Back to the Future

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The Power of Immunotherapy: Back to the Future The first western medicines were developed in the early 1900’s, but we had doctors (healers, shamans, etc) in every civilization for centuries prior to the advent of current drugs or technical advances. If they had no medicines, how were they successful? Our immune (defense) system serves to recognize foreign invaders (such as germs or cancer cells) destroying them, and keeping us well. Recent data demonstrates that loneliness, fear, depression and anxiety all weaken the immune system. I hypothesize that the presence of these healers served to dampen the fear and anxiety of illness, providing the emotional peace that strengthened the immune system, allowing us to heal. Modern immunotherapy has taken these principles forward, with remarkably stunning results. Alexandra M. Levine, MD, MACP is a Professor of Hematology/Transplantation at the City of Hope National Medical Center. Prior to this, she served as Chief Medical Officer at City of Hope.
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